Friday, May 02, 2008

Bringing down the 35 hour workweek. Howto.

If the French government has big difficulties - or lacks the necessary will and skills - in reforming the 35 hour workweek law, then we can count on our national industry champions to find a workaround. Peugeot Motorcycles has recently made a bold move in this direction; either the French unions accept the renegotiation of the 35 hours or the production line of the latest scooter goes away to Taiwan and the French jobs in Mandeure (Doubs) et Dannemarie (Haut-Rhin) will go away too. And not all the unions are reluctant to this, CFE-CGC having voted in favor while CGT against. Peugeot Motorcycles even warned that they were ready to shortcut the unions going directly for a referendum among the employees. The irony is that, in the meanwhile, the government through the voice of labor minister Xavier Bertrand is worried of this becoming a blackmailing precedent. I think the minister's stand is part of a strategy to raise the abysmally low approval rate of our beloved Speedy Gonzales, rather than being the result of the government's economic policy. Either way, they did well by staying out of it and they should continue to do the same.